I remember life being less sophisticated in the 70’s when Google, personal computers or mobile phones didn’t exist.
I learned about sex education from a book in the school library that I didn’t dare borrow and had to read quickly before anyone saw me. Somehow the information sunk in and I later had three children.
I vividly remember cradling my newborn baby daughter Lisa totally awestruck by the radiance of another baby to cherish forever. I hoped my children would be happy, healthy, lead fulfilling lives, get married and have children of their own.
The years spent embracing the pleasures and challenges of raising children flew past and before I knew it my children were adults.
One evening while at a Mexican restaurant I was blissfully unaware that our lives were about to take a dramatic turn. Normally effervescent and great company Lisa seemed preoccupied and I sensed something was troubling her.
After a couple of veiled attempts Lisa eventually managed to steer the conversation towards what she wanted to say.
“Mum and Dad, I’m gay.”
I looked at my husband’s face and knew he too was vulnerable about how to respond. This is not something we had expected. I felt uncomfortable hearing about it in a restaurant with people around us. I couldn’t think straight and was trying to understand what this would mean to our family.
“It’s just a phase you’re going through,” I said apprehensively.
“It is not a phase. I know who I am, I know what I feel and I know I am gay,’ Lisa said forcefully.
“We don’t want your life to be difficult because of social stigmas attached to homosexuality,” her father offered.
“I can’t change who I am to be convenient for society,” Lisa spat back at him.
Lisa tearfully tried to explain her feelings to us but we were still confused by her coming out. The conversation continued until our emotions were exhausted. After paying for our meal we drove home together with an uneasy feeling in the air.
In bed that night we discussed our feelings about our daughter being gay. We didn’t know anything about lesbians. We knew a few gay men and thought nothing of it, but this was our daughter, to us this seemed quite different.
After we couldn’t talk anymore I lay in bed going over in my mind what had transpired that evening. With the benefit of time alone to process my thoughts I knew that nothing could taint or change my love for Lisa who would always be my beautiful daughter.
As the light shone through the curtains signaling a new day I was hit by a warm sense of calm and clarity. I knew that all I needed to do was update the preconceived ideas I had when my baby was born all those years ago. It was that simple.